Date of Award
Caffeine and alcohol are two of the most popular and legal drugs around the world. In America, both drugs are easily accessible, which has contributed to frequent use of the drugs in tandem. Previous studies have revealed much about the mechanisms of each drug, but the effects of co-consumption are not yet fully understood. One concern is that caffeine could reduce how intoxicated a person feels, leading to an increase in alcohol consumption or other risky behaviors. Withdrawal is also a concern as it helps maintain the cycle of substance abuse. This study was designed to examine consumption patterns of and anxiety-like withdrawal from alcohol and caffeine in an animal model. C57BL/6J mice (n=48) were given caffeine (0.015% or 0.03%) and/or alcohol (3-20%) in a two-bottle choice intermittent access voluntary paradigm. Fluid consumption was recorded daily for five weeks and mice were then tested in an elevated plus maze (EPM) to assess anxiety-like behaviors during withdrawal. The amount of caffeine consumed remained steady while the amount of alcohol consumed gradually increased. Both sexes consumed more alcohol when it was paired with the lower dose of caffeine and consumed more caffeine when it was paired with alcohol. Overall, less consistent consumption patterns were found in female mice. The EPM revealed no significant differences between experimental conditions, even when sex was considered. These results suggest that a specific amount of caffeine may be necessary to impact alcohol consumption in mice, and that psychological withdrawal from these drugs may not manifest as anxiety.
Evans, Melissa, "Anxiety-Inducing Effects of Alcohol and Caffeine in C57BL/6J Mice" (2020). Undergraduate Honors Thesis Collection. 544.